18 June 2021
IFAMA 2021 Virtual World Conference: 21-25 June 2021
The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) will be hosting its annual global conference in a virtual format across three global time zones this coming week. The conference will take place over five days in three different time zones, making it convenient for presenters and participants to attend regional programming with unlimited on-demand access to presentations from the entire global programme. A specific day is allocated to each region, as follows:

• Asia and Oceania: 22 June 2021
• Europe and Africa: 23 June 2021
• Americas: 24 June 2021   

Of specific interest will be the Europe Africa session of 23 June 2021 where various presenters and moderators from South Africa will participate, as well as top speakers from Europe addressing key issues as the Green New Deal and Farm to Fork Strategies of the European Union, and their implications for Africa and South Africa in particular. Registration can be done for specific time zones, making it really affordable to everyone involved in the agri-food sector. The theme of the conference is “Innovations reshaping the future of food”. Please click here for more information on the programme and how to register.
The five most pressing political-economic concerns in SA
Political and trends analyst JP Landman has compiled a series of articles about the most pressing political-economic concerns with the help of Nedbank Private Wealth. He received hundreds of replies, grouped the questions together and selected the five areas most often mentioned. He discusses each area separately, each accompanied with a Q&A sound recording. That way you can choose to read/listen to the topic that interest you most. The five areas are expropriation without compensation, President Ramaphosa’s position, local government, the fiscal cliff and energy. Please click here to access JP Landman's commentary.
Municipalities and local government are a mess, says JP Landman
It’s a mess. Of the 278 local authorities in South Africa, 163 of the 278 are in financial distress and 40 are in serious financial and service delivery crisis. In a display of wishful thinking, 102 have adopted budgets they cannot fund. It is partly due to design. In China, for example, mayors and provincial leaders are appointed and promoted from the centre. In South Africa, local government is completely decentralized and its autonomy as a level of government is protected by the Constitution. This means that local power elites have a lot of leeway, can dispense patronage, appoint family and loyalists and in general mismanage things. Add to that Lord Acton’s century-old adage that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, and we are where we are. To date, the most astonishing aspect of local government decline is the failure of opposition parties to capitalize on it. We will see whether this changes in October, but at the moment there is a paralyzing vacuum. It is partly being filled by protests, local civil initiatives and court rulings.JP Landman, political and trends analyst, discusses this subject in the linked article.
BUSA request for extension of compliance period of POPI Act, and response from the IR
The deadline for businesses to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) is at the end of June 202, when the Information Regulator was due to start enforcing business compliance with the Act. Part of the requirements of POPI is for businesses to identify an information officer and to register the details of that person with the Information Regulator (IR). Many companies were not able to register the information officers with the IR via the online platform. For this reason, BUSA has formally written to the IR and to the Minister of Justice requesting an extension to the date for compliance as a result of the IR being inundated and not complying with its obligations to register the information officers. The IR has responded with the linked letter dated 17 June 2021, stating that the IR has decided to extend the commencement date of section 58(2) of POPIA to 01 February 2022. Notice in this regard will be published on the IR's website by 18 June 2021 and in the Government Gazette on or before 25 June 2021.
Court overturns the Ingonyama Trust's PTO Conversion Programme in its tracks
On Friday the 11 June the Provincial Division of the High Court in KwaZulu-Natal ruled in favour of a group of occupiers who were assisted by NGOs to bring a case against the Ingonyama Trust. The case deals with the trust's so-called PTO Conversion Programme implemented from 2007 to convert existing PTOs (Permission to Occupy Rights) into leasehold. The court held that the Ingonyama Trust acted unlawfully by converting PTOs to leasehold, order the programme to cease, the trust to repay rent collected from occupiers. The court also held that the minister failed to exercise sufficient oversight as she has a duty of care towards occupiers living on trust land. Herewith the salient facts. Agbiz head of Legal Intelligence Theo Boshoff discusses this subject in the linked article. The full judgement is linked here.
Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index shoots to record high in Q2, 2021
South Africa’s agricultural sector has not, in the recent past, had a season as good as the current one. This is evident from the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI), which in the second quarter of this year reached a record high (since its inception in 2001) of 75, from 64 in the first quarter of 2021. These results reflect favourable conditions for all subsectors of agriculture, with various crops set to reach record output levels. Importantly, this comes at a time when commodity prices – domestically and globally -- are at relatively higher levels, mainly supported by growing demand from China, combined with dryness in parts of South America. Such an environment of large yields and higher prices is not a usual occurrence in South Africa and has boosted farmers' incomes and sentiments about business conditions. This second-quarter survey was conducted in the first two weeks of June 2021 and covered agribusinesses operating in all agricultural subsectors across South Africa. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo discusses the subindices in the linked media statement.
Ghost towns across South Africa a growing concern for the farming community 
The reluctance to transfer ownership to land reform beneficiaries also means that the municipalities cannot levy rates and taxes. In this sense, the tenure arrangements are starving rural municipalities of their ability to raise their own funds and make them overly reliant on the equitable share from the National Treasury. In metros, where title deeds are commonplace, the municipalities are for the most part self-sufficient as they can raise their own revenue via the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act. As long as the majority of land continues to be owned by the state (e.g. the former homeland areas), there is no legal basis for municipalities to leverage rates and taxes from occupiers. In the linked blogpost, Wandile Sihlobo explores the reasons for the demise of South Africa’s rural small towns.
SA tractor and harvester sales remained robust in May 2021
We continue to observe robust activity in South Africa's agricultural machinery market, and this optimism has been underway since May 2020. Last week, the figures released by the South African Agricultural Machinery Association show that tractor and harvester sales were each up by 13% y/y in May 2021, with 518 and 35 units sold, respectively. As we indicated last month, the improved farmers' finances have supported the sale. This is on the back of the large harvest in 2019/20, prospects for yet another good agricultural season in 2020/21, and higher commodities prices. The relatively stronger exchange rate has also been a positive buffer for the imported agricultural machinery. Wandile Sihlobo discusses the latest data in the linked article.
Unnecessary costs for the grain industry is not fair
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) strives for a new inspection service aimed at grain storers that will cost millions of rands to put into operation. Not only is the consumer going to pay for this, but the usefulness of this service is obscure and incomprehensible. The dilemma of the inspection service is that it depends on a public contribution to be collected by the industry for a totally redundant service. Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer discusses this topic in the linked article, written for and first published in Landbouweekblad.
Experience counts when record harvest is stored
Grain harvests are seasonal and the extent thereof can show large variations. Experienced silo staff knows this because it is not so easy to roll out resources when a record harvest is expected. A successful team knows when to increase the pace in order to handle and store more grain in the same timeframe. Agile silo staff has skills such as foresight, a willingness to always learn, adaptability and resilience. A team with these skills can easily master a record harvest with existing resources. Read more in the linked article by Agbiz Grain general manager Wessel Lemmer and Awie Kriel, regional manager: commodities at Kaap Agri, first published in SA Grain.
How to attract private finance to Africa’s development
African economies are at a pivotal juncture. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought economic activity to a standstill. Africa’s hard-won economic gains of the last two decades, critical in improving living standards, could be reversed. High public debt levels and the uncertain outlook for international aid limit the scope for growth through large public investment programs. The private sector will have to play more of a role in economic development if countries are to enjoy a strong recovery and avoid economic stagnation. Heads of state from Africa made this one of their resounding messages during the recent summit on “Financing African Economies” held in Paris in May. Read more on this subject in the linked IMF blogpost.
SA agribusiness confidence at its highest level on record
The recently released record-high Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index figures provide agricultural producers with the opportunity to reinvest in their farming concerns and address their debt structures. This was according to Francois Strydom, Agbiz chairperson, who told Farmer’s Weekly the combination of high yields and prices contributed greatly to the exceptional performance of the agriculture sector. It also attested to the resilience of South African farmers. Read more in the linked article, first published in Farmer's Weekly.
Increase in Zimbabwe's maize harvest
Zimbabwe’s corn crop for the 2021/22 marketing year (MY) is estimated at 2.7 million tons, an increase of almost 200 percent from the 907 628 tons of corn produced in the 2020/21 MY. The 2021/22 MY corn crop will be Zimbabwe’s largest corn crop since the 1984/85 MY. A combination of expansion in area and favorable weather conditions contributed to the largest corn crop in more than three decades. As a result, the Zimbabwean government terminated the issuing of import permits for corn and corn meal to local grain millers as supply exceeds local demand. Zimbabwe will also, for the first time in three years, manage to maintain the minimum strategic grain reserve of 500 000 tons in physical stocks. Please click here to read a USDA report on this subject.
Grain SA appoints new CEO
Grain SA today announced that Dr Pieter Taljaard is appointed as the organisation’s new CEO. He will take over the reins from Jannie de Villiers from 1 September 2021 following Jannie's earlier announcement that he will be stepping down as CEO at the end of August. Pieter is well known in the agricultural sector and brings a wealth of expertise to this role, having served in a number of senior leadership capacities over the past years, currently as the Cereals and Industrial Crops Go-to-market Strategy Lead at Bayer Crop Science. He worked with Grain SA for many years in his capacity at Bayer, Monsanto, NWK and as lecturer at the University of the Free State. Read more in the linked Grain SA media statement.
The importance of conventional reefer ships for the South African fruit export industry
The outlook on citrus production and export from Southern Africa clearly shows a massive growth phase is currently in play. Tree census data confirms this and the outlook is for more than 200 million 15-kg equivalent cartons being produced and exported in the near future. Evaluating this data shows that at least by the 2025 export season, the probability to produce and export 190 million 15-kg equivalent cartons is a definite reality. The big question that should be on every grower and exporter's mind is: how the logistics chain is going to manage this volume? Read more in the linked article by Mitchell Brooke, CGA logistics development manager, first published on FreshPlaza.
News from Vinpro
The June 2021 edition of the Vinpro newsletter shares the latest news from the wine industry. Please click here to peruse.
Weekly newsletter from CGA
Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers' Association of Southern African, shares the latest news in the citrus industry in his weekly update - From the desk of the CEO. Please click here to peruse.
The latest news from the pork industry
Read more about the latest developments and news in the pork industry in the South African Pork Producers' Organisation's (SAPPO) newsletter, SAPPO Weekly Update.
Business Ireland Agricultural Business Networking Event
22 June 2021

Trade Forward Southern Africa Webinar
Leveraging ITC Trademaps and tools for export trade
23 June 2021

Israeli Avocado Tech
Theme: "Grow smart, grow more"
30 June 2021

Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA’s) EU Green Deal Series
6 July 2021  | Session 3: Impact on Business and Commercial Ventures
In this session, you will learn how the EU Green Deal could impact your business and how to de-risk your business. Speakers will be announced.

Sustainability Summit 2021
21-23 September 2021 | Virtual

2021 AFMA Symposium
18-19 October 2021
Enquiries: events@afma.co.za 

Agbiz Congress 2022
22-24 June 2022 | Sun City
Why join Agbiz?
  • Agbiz is the only organisation that serves the broader and common over-arching business interests of agribusinesses in South Africa.
  • Agbiz addresses the legislative and policy environment on the many fronts that it impacts on the agribusiness environment.
  • Agbiz facilitates considerable top-level networking opportunities so that South African agribusinesses can play an active and creative role within the local and international organised business environment.
  • Agbiz research provides sector-specific information for informed decision-making.
  • Agbiz newsletter publishes members' press releases and member product announcements.
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